Ian Adair – SME Columnist

Hi there! – One way to keep young is to mix with young magicians. For the past thirty years or more I’ve been associated with Junior clubs, conventions for young magicians as well as writing monthly columns for their very own magazines. I even donated a cup called the Abracadair Cup for the most promising young magician, which was presented each year at the Junior Days of Magic. This event became so popular that The Magic Circle has taken it over and these are now held at the Circle’s headquarters in London.

When I was boy magician we didn’t have any junior sections of magic clubs. I remember wanting to join my home town magic club when I was only thirteen, but was sadly told the I was too young. I kept pestering the President until he arranged a meeting at the club where I performed a fifteen minute show in front of the members. I am pleased to say that the members agreed that I would be better inside the doors of the magic club rather than being on the outside.

Since that day, I became the Hon Secretary of the club for three consecutive years as well as winning the annual cup three years running. When I left my home town of Kilmarnock, Scotland, way back in 1958, they presented me with an Honorary membership.

What about the young magicians of today? There are plenty of magic societies all over the world who have sections solely devoted for young magicians. Boys and girls who are interested in our craft can join as early as 12 years in some societies.

I’ve been a judge for the main Junior Day competitions for seventeen years. I was joined by two others, magicians and experts such as Donald Bevan (past editor of Abracadabra Magazine), Bobby Bernard (very skilful manipulator of coins) and Magigram editor, Ken De Courcy (sadly no longer with us).

The standard of magic has always been high, but since the lack of variety and magic on television, competitors became thin on the ground.

The problem I have found with a great many of the young magicians of the day (12 year old up to 16) is that they no longer wish to prepare proper acts. They much prefer showing off their juggling skills using cards, coins or anything they have in their pockets. The repertoire of most, consist of a deck of cards and a thumb-tip. Perhaps one or two also have a version of Card in wallet.

At the Magic Circle headquarters, I approached a table where a young 13 year old magician was performing. I was interested in what he was intending to present. He presented very little. Instead, he shuffled a deck using one hand, juggled some of the cards out of the pack, ribbon cascaded the deck along his arm and caught them all – and that was it. I was actually looking for proper tricks, proper routines and proper ‘entertainment’. Perhaps he will join the happy (or unhappy, as the case may be) of ‘Finger-flingers’ Not all young magicians are like that young man, but many are.

Ah, when I was young, all those…. Years ago, I saved up my pocket money to buy this and that, and tried all branches of our craft, before deciding upon presenting a dove act. But then, Channing Pollock was around to give me that inspiration that I required!!!

There’s magic in the air… from Ian Adair (M.I.M.C.)